Find out how to Host Higher Digital Conferences
Virtual meetings have many of the same drawbacks as traditional meetings, including poor organization, bloated time slots, and disinterested attendees. But they also suffer from a number of problems that are unique to them, including intermittent delays, connectivity issues, and the dreaded patterns of ongoing interruptions. How do you host better virtual meetings?
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February 10, 2021 5 min read
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If you’re like most professionals, you’ve spent a lot of time in virtual meetings in 2020 and you will be doing it in 2021 – more than you ever thought possible, say 2015. And if you’re like most professionals who meet virtually, have you lamented the fact that they could be better.
Virtual meetings have many of the same drawbacks as traditional meetings, including poor organization, bloated time slots, and disinterested attendees. But they also suffer from a number of problems that are unique to them, including intermittent delays, connectivity issues, and the dreaded patterns of ongoing interruptions.
And of course, virtual meetings don’t go anywhere. Many companies that have moved to a remote working environment will remain so indefinitely. Even if it doesn’t, you will need to conduct and organize at least some meetings remotely in the future.
Related Topics: How To Stop Meetings From Killing Your Startup
How do you host better virtual meetings?
Improve the quality of video calls
The easiest step you can take is to improve the quality of your video calls. If your video feed suffers from stuttering, lag, or other technical issues, it can disrupt and jeopardize an otherwise effective meeting. Accordingly, this should be your top priority.
Check your virtual meeting provider and see if there are any issues with them. If you’re using a problematic platform, chances are a lot of customers like you are complaining about the quality of service. Consider switching to a different provider if you have consistent issues that cannot be fixed.
Otherwise, there are a few simple fixes you can use to improve the quality:
- Update your client. Make sure you are using the latest version of the software you have chosen. New updates often smooth out previous problems.
- Ensure a strong connection. If your Internet connection is lagging or slow, your video conferencing will suffer. If necessary, update your router or internet plan.
- Invest in better equipment. A good microphone can instantly make your audio clearer to other attendees, and a good webcam can make you look clearer. Don’t be afraid to make the investment; The standard equipment in your device may not be sufficient.
- Simplify the background. Minimize the amount of video content that needs to be broadcast by simplifying your background. A busy coffee shop is far more resource-intensive than a static bookshelf or virtual backdrop, which affects the quality of your call.
- Don’t multitask. Try not to use the internet for any other purpose, such as streaming video, while on a video call.
Plan your participation efficiently
Next, carefully plan your attendance at each meeting. The fewer participants you have, the fewer opportunities there are for interruptions and the fewer hours you spend on the meeting in total. Accordingly, you should aim for the smallest possible meeting size.
In addition, it is important to ensure that every participant can fully participate. Let them know in advance of the nature of the meeting and make sure they have everything they need to connect efficiently, including updated software, physical equipment, and knowledge of how to attend.
Come in with a plan
This is important advice for any meeting, but make sure you have a plan. You shouldn’t have a meeting to hold a meeting. You should have a clear agenda and achieve a goal. By the end of the meeting, you should have new information, a new conclusion, or a final decision. Make sure everyone in the meeting understands the purpose of the meeting before joining, and use your agenda to keep the conference updated.
Use a talking stick
Interruptions will definitely happen, but you can minimize them with a style of talking stick. Keep everyone silent until it is their turn to speak and encourage your participants not to meddle unless clearly necessary. You can also use text chat as a backup for conversations and for sharing insights without people talking about each other.
Pursue other forms of communication
Video calling has served as a convenient replacement for traditional meetings. But here’s an important truth: most of the time, you don’t need traditional or virtual meetings to communicate effectively. In many cases there is a better alternative. Depending on the structure of your organization and the type of message you want to communicate, you can turn to an email thread, project management platform, or even some form of collaborative blogging.
Related: A Meeting Agenda Guide That Actually Works (Infographic)
Even as you perfect the virtual meeting, you will need to rely on a variety of communication channels and techniques to ensure that all of your messages are delivered effectively. Use the various tools that are available to you.
By following these strategies, you should be able to have better virtual meetings (and possibly better communication strategies in general). Communication in your company will never be perfect, but there are steps you can take to improve efficiency and clarity for everyone involved.